If you missed the beginning of the story you can catch up here in Part 1.
So, how do we make it on one income? It’s not very complicated: we simply live within our means by following a budget. For us, my being a stay-at-home mom is a priority. It means sacrificing. We don’t drive luxury vehicles: we have always had cheap reliable used cars. We have basic cell-phones and no land line phone. We don’t have cable or satellite television. We sold our house and have been renting (and saving) until we can comfortably afford to own a home again. Our kids share a room (yes 4 children in ONE room). Most of our meals are homemade.
As much as I’m not a detail person or really like finances, our budget is my friend. It is a tool that has helped make this all possible. It’s amazing how much we spend on certain things and don’t even realize it. Try this experiment: track every penny spent for the next two weeks. Yes, EVERY penny. You might be surprised where all that hard-earned money is going!
All a budget does is helps you to determine where your money goes. Earning cash tips and then paying with cash has taught me a lot! It gives me a strong visual to pull out a $100 bill at the grocery store and see how much I get back. Personally, the envelope system is what works best for me. Making and keeping to a budget is not easy, but it is so very worth it! Be the boss of your money!
I hear from other women, “I wish I could stay at home, but we just can’t afford it.” If that is the case, I have a challenge for you: if it truly is your desire to stay at home then make it your GOAL, and then MAKE A PLAN. Don’t let it be a far-off dream or a “some-day” thing. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family.
Figure it out. How much do you really need? Have you counted the cost of working? (Yes, there is more to a job than the income! How much do you spend on work clothes, gas to get to work, daycare, taxes, convenient meals, Starbucks on the way to work, etc.?) Where can you cut back and save? I bet you can make a mean cup o’ joe at home, add your own flavor syrups and real cream and you won’t even miss the Starbucks…too much. (Okay, so maybe that’s where you spend your blow money, but put it in your budget!) Can you add to your income from home?
I’m not advocating that everyone sell their house, kiss their Dish tv good bye, and start raising chickens in their backyard (which, call me crazy, I’m actually contemplating–the chicken thing, that is.) I’m just saying that most things that are worth having do not just happen. So what are your priorities and goals? How can you make it happen? Our time with our children is so short, and if you’re here reading this, you probably already know that! Let’s make a plan and make the most of that time (and money). Whatever it costs to stay at home, it will be worth it!
Any tips for saving money in your budget? Leave a comment and share with us!